Biomechanics of bone fracture fixation

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Mechanical Engineering


Periprosthetic fractures occur during or following joint replacement. An incident of about 1-5% has been reported for example for total hip replacements (THRs). Management of these fractures are challenging due the presence of an existing implant, possibly cement mantle and poor bone quality. A concerning increase in the incidence of this condition has been predicted. Increasing number of joint replacement operations and lack of specific fracture plates for these fractures in the market reinforce further research and development in this area.
The overall aim of this project is to develop, optimize and test a new fracture plate for the management of periprosthetic fractures. The specific aims of this project are to design and develop a new fracture plate, carry out a series of detail finite element analysis of the periprosthetic fracture plate fixation and perform in vitro testing on the fracture plate.
This project is a joint collaboration between UCL Mechanical Engineering, a well-recognized consultant adult hip and knee reconstruction and trauma surgeon and a medical device company. It will require the student to spend at least a total of three months at the industrial partner site i.e. requiring national and international trips.

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509577/1 30/09/2016 24/03/2022
1961103 Studentship EP/N509577/1 24/09/2017 24/12/2021 Katherine Wang
Description Periprosthetic femoral fractures can occur after a hip replacement surgery. Many of the fracture plates used to stabilize the bone are not adequate for these types of fractures as they do not take the bone quality, existing prosthesis, and other factors into account. We have designed a novel fracture plate to overcome these issues. Computational models show that the novel plate shows higher stability compared to current similar plates on the market.
Exploitation Route The proposed plate could be taken to market and help provide better prognosis to patients.

I used the experimental data I produced to develop validated finite element (FE) models, where I successfully answer a number of clinically valid questions which would have been technically difficult, time consuming, and expensive to study in vitro. This included effect of stem sizing, stem malalignment, and extent of cortical defect in THA and PFF. From this, I also designed (in Solidworks), developed, and manufactured a novel implant to address the current pitfalls seen in PFF fixation, for which I also evaluated the design and mechanical properties of the implant using experimental and FEA studies.
Sectors Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology

Description DePuy Synthes 
Organisation Depuy International
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution I developed experimental and computational frameworks to investigate the effect of cemented and uncemented total hip arthroplasty (THA), and subsequent periprosthetic femoral fracture fixation (PFF). The experimental data I produced was then used to create experimentally validated finite element analysis (FEA) models. The validated FEA models were successfully used to answer a number of clinically relevant questions which would otherwise be technically difficult, time consuming and expensive to conduct in vivo/in vitro. From this, I designed, developed, and manufactured a novel fracture plate to treat PFF, and address the current pitfalls in management strategies. This collaboration also included a work placement, where I carried out work in the Hips division of DePuy Synthes - Leeds. I was involved in several different R&D projects, where I carried out data analysis and reports, as well as developed a FEA model for characterising material properties of materials used for manufacture.
Collaborator Contribution DePuy Synthes very kindly contributed financially towards this project. They also contributed the implants and instrumentation (fracture plates, hip prosthesis) used in the experimental studies.
Impact Thus far, this collaboration has resulted in a published journal article, and two national/international conferences.
Start Year 2018